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$50,000 grant helps support Chinese language program

All nine teachers of Mandarin Chinese in South Washington County Schools, Yi-Fen Kuan, Lai Lau, Shen Fei, Julie Kong, Peggy Leung, Elsa Pan, Pei-Wen Fang, Lin Ching Nieh, and Chloe Lu, three of their principals, and district administration accepted Confucius Classroom plaques at the Dec. 17 School Board meeting. Submitted Photo

South Washington County Schools celebrated the award of a Confucius Classroom grant through the Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota and supported by the Hanban Confucius Institute Headquarters in China at the Dec. 17 School Board meeting.

The $50,000 grant provides funding for continued program development and training for the teachers and may provide additional financial support for up to five years to build a high quality, sustainable program.

Currently, 3,588 students in grades 1-12 are receiving Mandarin Chinese language instruction in South Washington County Schools. Five elementary sites offer the program along with all four middle school sites and two high schools. The extended sequence of language learning allows students to develop language proficiency.

With China's growing prominence, cultural and language proficiency in Chinese is seen as a benefit to graduates living and working in a global world.

As part of the grant, Mandarin Chinese students will work with their partner school in China on a virtual project. Teacher and student exchanges may be planned for the future.

Compiled from information provided by School District 833.